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Hi Desolate (or Hopeful),
Sorry to hear about the end of your relationship and well done for getting out there again into the dating scene. Good for you 🙂
I completely agree with Anita that rather than giving up, you need to change your MO: it was a logical starting point to begin with dating online because it’s direct and convenient. However, when that didn’t work out well for you, instead of saying to yourself “online dating is not the best option for me to meet a person that I might start a relationship with”, you’ve immediately progressed to “online dating isn’t going so well, ergo dating isn’t for me, ergo relationships aren’t for me, ergo I’d better prepare myself mentally to be forever alone”. Do you see that that’s quite a leap and that you could be a bit more creative/think laterally and experiment with other options first? 🙂
The problem with online dating is that people are trying to jump-start emotional intimacy.
Recognise that a lot of online dating is attempting to do exactly that – take shortcuts in getting to know strangers well. It is no surprise that you are feeling that you “can’t emotionally handle it anymore”. No-one can; it’s too hard to keep bringing “the real you” to the table again and again, sharing intimate details like values and dreams with people you haven’t met before and might not meet again. It’s not your fault you’re trying to do it this way; people haven’t got used to the medium of online dating yet. It seems like a simple solution to a complicated problem. However, while technology may have advanced, the human heart is still the same; learn to be gentle to it, both to yours and to others’ too. Don’t try to immediately jump in the deep end; be patient and dip your toe. If the water is warm you can wade into a relationship step by step.
Ultimately, I agree that dating is not for you. Forget about dating. Try socialising more instead. I’m not saying I think you’re anti-social, I promise, but I get the feeling your interests aren’t so gregarious. I know that you said that you are happy in yourself and do things that make you happy, and that’s really awesome. However, the activities in your life are currently not throwing wonderful, compatible women into your path, so that means that you would do well to widen your net. In short, you probably need to get out of your comfort zone. I would step off the online dating sites and onto interest sites, such as “meetup.com” in the city you live in. Find some groups you’re interested in, or activities you’d like to try, like hiking, salsa dancing, pottery, learning a new language, going on pub crawls, book clubs, watching cult movies together, walking tours of your city, etc. Look for activities that are likely to be mixed genders – this is important. Look for a wide enough circle of friends that new people can move through, so it’s not a completely incestuous closed circle of people, but not so large that people never get close and become friends. And most importantly, something you enjoy so much that you’d keep doing it and loving it even if it never brought you a date.
I understand you’re an introvert – I am, too. However, if you’re doing things you like you’ll find a source of energy and a way to interact with the people you do it with that works for you. You may even end up finding a safe space for yourself outside your home; a second sanctuary. Imagine if people could see you at your happiest and best without even stepping into your home. What would happen if people could see the real, relaxed you shining like a beacon but without incredible expenditure of energy or vulnerability on your part?
Being yourself in stimulating but safe situations with other men and women around you with similar interests is best, better than dating. Being in this environment will mean that someone suitable who you might not even have considered before will start to become really special (and sexy, too!), because they’ll be at their best and most relaxed as well. You can’t control love, or control who exactly you meet, but you can control the situations you are in. Spend more time in situations that are conducive to love and you will not be able to help falling for someone over the next few years, and there’s a good chance that that someone (and maybe others) will fall for you, too. And in this situation, it will be a deeper connection than dating as it’s been built over time, under less pressure, and based on mutual interests. Also, they will have more personal accountablility as they are known by mutual friends, so they will be more likely to behave with integrity towards you. And this is the best guarantee you get, really. Sure beats reading OK Cupid profiles and you’ll learn some salsa moves along the way.
Anyway, sorry for the ridiculously long reply – I hope some of it is useful. Sorry if it’s not! I’ve just never found dating to be a good way of finding partners; personally, I’ve only ever fallen for people I’ve spent a lot of time with and who I’m really comfortable around. Out of curiosity, how did you meet the person you broke up with this year? Was is a dating website or something else?
Wishing you all the best and I’m sure you’ll find your way.